Popular payments app Paytm was today removed from Google’s Play Store for “repeated” violations of its gambling policies. The app has been restored as of Friday evening, but Paytm First Games, a separate app which offers fantasy gaming, remains absent from the Play Store. Google said this morning that it removes apps that offer unregulated gambling apps and facilitate sports betting. Apps that leads customers to an external “real money” gaming website are also prohibited, along with real money games, fantasy games, and gambling apps are also prohibited. The company said it notifies developers of violations and removes the app until changes are made. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said the Paytm app was removed over cashbacks for the Cricket Premier League, which Google said amounted to gambling. The cashbacks were offered to users who collected a certain number of cricket-themed scratch cards. “Google thinks this is gambling, or a casino, this is bullshit of a different degree,” he said. Sharma said Google reached out to Paytm only to notify it that the app was removed, and had previously reached out only regarding Paytm First Games. Earlier today, Paytm said it temporarily removed the cashback feature to comply with Google’s policies. The ban comes a day before the inaugural match of the Indian Premier League 2020, which is scheduled to kick off Saturday evening. IPL typically leads to a surge in fantasy and online gaming. Originally scheduled for March, this season has been delayed at…
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